Kaash Youth team reaches remote villages with relief
Our team of young volunteers under the banner of Kaash, a Dehradun-based voluntary organisation, reached Narayan Koti, a village near Guptkashi, with food and medical supplies on June 23. On reaching Narayan Koti, the team made contact with the villagers and established a base camp. The team learnt that all the relief supplies reaching the disaster hit areas are being dumped and stocked at towns and villages still unconnected by road to Dehradun.
The villages were actually disconnected from rest of the country due to collapsing of roads, bridges, electric poles and mobile towers. Immediately, a 10 member team was formed comprising young Narayan Koti youth, who know the area well. Next morning with each person carrying 10 kg of supplies, the team started a 24 km trek to the remote villages of Kaalimath, Nidla, Jaggi Bhagwan, Bhyuki, Chilaun, Jaal (Talla), Jaal (Malla), Chaumasi and Kotma. Trekking through dangerous vertical terrain the team visited villages one by one and stationed at Kotma for the night after walking for 8 hours. The villages have suffered huge losses in terms of lives, houses, schools, nursing homes, agricultural fields and small businesses. All the villages wore a gloomy sad disturbed look.
In some households, only an old man sitting outside on a chair remains and somewhere else a widow sitting alone in the dark of her house mourns (with no electricity, only a handful households have solar lamps). With grief and loss gripping the villagers had been left alone to die of hunger with no ration at homes or shops.
The villagers told the team that we were the first team to reach them with relief supplies, as till date no government or army assistance had reached them. Even no medical assistance had been made available for pregnant women or the sick. All the concentration had been on evacuating tourists from some main spots like Kedarnath, Badrinath, Ram Bada and Gauri Kund.
The small villages and its residents had been forgotten by the government. The villagers say, “Our state government will use us as scapegoats to eat up the money released by the Central Government, they come only when elections are near”. Our team distributed supplies among affected families. Stories of the horrid disaster followed the whole night with villagers still hopeful of the future. The villagers expressed their gratitude towards our team questioning again and again that “when young volunteers from Dehradun could reach the remote villages with relief supplies then why couldn’t the government?”
Next morning some villagers followed our team back to Narayan Koti for more supplies. The situation in remote disconnected villages is very critical with every morning bringing with itself a new challenge to get relief and medical supplies. My other team members included Satya Singh, Bhalvaan, Gaurav Naithani, Yogendra Singh Rana, Girish Chandra Pujari, etc. Team Kaash has pledged to help rebuild homes, schools, fields and lives in the disaster hit areas step by step.